THU  |  23. 2.  |  18:00

SANKA  |  山歌

Director: SASATANI Ryohei  

Cast: SUGITA Rairu, SHIBUKAWA Kiyohiko, KOMUKAI Naru, IIDA Kisuke


77 min

Set in 1965, the story introduces us to student Norio. He is coming back to his native town to prepare for high school examination. His father has a great say in making decisions on the development of the town and local landscape. He projects his ambitions into his son and wants to be his only role model. By accident, Norio meets girl Hana who steals their sweet potatoes. Her boldness and wildness are so different from the world in which he has to live and be a diligent student. He also meets her father and grandmother. They are nomads who travel for various jobs. They spend the summer in the mountains, and relocate to the lowlands for the winter, offering their skills and labour to make their living. Norio is attracted to the idea of escaping to the wilderness and living without rules. What he cannot see is the poverty and contempt the nomads face, as well as the fact that this ‘nation’ is disappearing slowly. Director Sasatani juxtaposes the unrestrained and free nature with the industrial development and economic growth of the entire post-war Japan, to which nature has had to give way. The sanka people virtually disappeared from society in the 1970s.

Director’s Note

1965, the year in which this story is set, was a time of upheaval in a Japan undergoing   rapid economic growth. The wave of development even reached hitherto sleepy mountain villages, and that year saw a sharp decline in phenomena that are now considered fantastical but were once regarded as ordinary by mountain people, such as sightings of shape-shifting raccoon dogs and will-o’-the-wisps. What this tells us is that it was once perfectly natural for Japanese to respect and fear nature. Subsequently, through the prevalence of “anthropocentric” thinking that continues to this day, Japan underwent a drastic transformation. Especially because of the barrenness of our modern age, I made this film with the belief that the lifestyle actually practiced by the Sanka people within nature incorporates universal wisdom.

© 2019 articlefilms-docs